music clip of the day


Category: classical

Thursday, August 28th

never enough

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor (“The Tempest”); Daniel Barenboim (piano), live, Berlin, 2005

I went decades without listening to Beethoven. Now I can’t imagine life without him. No matter what kind of day I’m having, no matter what my mood, his music makes life seem richer, and deeper, and more worth living.

Monday, August 25th

Why not begin the week with something beautiful?

Lou Harrison (1917-2003), Second Symphony (“Elegiac,” 1988); BBC National Orchestra of Wales



reading table

never growing old
Mr. and Mrs.

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827; translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)

Monday, August 18th

two takes

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), String Quartet No. 10, 3rd movt.

Fabian Almazan Trio with String Quartet, live, New York, 2012


Borodin Quartet, recording



random thoughts

If life weren’t so sad, it wouldn’t be life.

Thursday, August 14th

soundtrack to a dream

Morton Feldman (1926-1987), The Viola in My Life; João Pedro Delgado (viola), et al., live, Portugal, 2014







reading table

The Suicide’s Room
by Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012; MCOTD Hall-of-Famer), translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

I’ll bet you think the room was empty.
Wrong. There were three chairs with sturdy backs.
A lamp, good for fighting the dark.
A desk, and on the desk a wallet, some newspapers.
A carefree Buddha and a worried Christ.
Seven lucky elephants, a notebook in a drawer.
You think our addresses weren’t in it?

No books, no pictures, no records, you guess?
Wrong. A comforting trumpet poised in black hands.
Saskia and her cordial little flower.
Joy the spark of gods.
Odysseus stretched on the shelf in life-giving sleep
after the labors of Book Five.
The moralists
with the golden syllables of their names
inscribed on finely tanned spines.
Next to them, the politicians braced their backs.

No way out? But what about the door?
No prospects? The window had other views.
His glasses
lay on the windowsill.
And one fly buzzed—that is, was still alive.

You think at least the note could tell us something.
But what if I say there was no note—
and he had so many friends, but all of us fit neatly
inside the empty envelope propped up against a cup.

Thursday, August 7th


Bela Bartok (1881-1945), String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Quatuor Ebène, live



reading table

Sometimes it feels like a writer is speaking directly to you. Yesterday, before catching a flight to Orlando, then driving sixty miles to this hotel, which I’ll soon be leaving to see a client at a federal prison, I happened upon this.

in and out
of prison they go . . .
baby sparrows

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827; translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)

Thursday, July 31st

Who needs coffee?

Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), Variations on a Theme by Paganini
Martha Argerich & Gabriela Montero, pianos, live

Saturday, July 19th


Henry Cowell (1897-1965), The Tides of Manaunaun, c. 1917
Andy Costello (piano), live, Chicago, 2009



art beat: more from Thursday night at the Art Institute of Chicago

Josef Koudelka (1938-), Ireland, 1972
Nationality Doubtful, through September 14th


Thursday, July 17th

never enough

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Suite No. 3 in C major for Unaccompanied Cello; Jean-Guihen Queyras (1967-), live, c. 2007


Tuesday, July 15th


Lorin Maazel (mah-ZELL), conductor, violinist, composer
March 6, 1930-July 13, 2014

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”), Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia (Lorin Maazel, cond.), live, Spain (A Coruña), 2012

Charlie Haden, Tommy Ramone, Lorin Maazel: their differences are dwarfed by what, as music makers, they shared.

Thursday, July 10th


Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major (2nd movt., Andantino), Paul Lewis (1972-), live, Boston, 2013



reading table

During Wind and Rain
by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

They sing their dearest songs—
He, she, all of them—yea,
Treble and tenor and bass,
And one to play;
With the candles mooning each face. . . .
Ah, no; the years O!
How the sick leaves reel down in throngs!

They clear the creeping moss—
Elders and juniors—aye,
Making the pathways neat
And the garden gay;
And they build a shady seat. . . .
Ah, no; the years, the years;
See the white storm-birds wing across!

They are blithely breakfasting all—
Men and maidens—yea,
Under the summer tree,
With a glimpse of the bay,
While pet fowl come to the knee. . . .
Ah, no; the years O!
And the rotten rose is ript from the wall.

They change to a high new house,
He, she, all of them—aye,
Clocks and carpets and chairs
On the lawn all day,
And brightest things that are theirs. . . .
Ah, no; the years, the years;
Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.


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